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Bloomington businesses, nonprofits apply for relief funding amid global pandemic



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Closed shops at the Fountain Square Mall are pictured April 13 on Kirkwood Avenue. According to Mayor John Hamilton, over 30 businesses, organizations and nonprofits have completed the application and another 100 are working on applications for the Rapid Response Fund. Carl Cote

Since the application for Bloomington’s Rapid Response Fund opened last week, more than 36 businesses, organizations and nonprofits have completed it and another 138 are working on applications, city spokesperson Yaёl Ksander said Thursday.

“Bloomington is standing up in a crisis to help businesses, nonprofits, and cultural groups that define and sustain our community,” Mayor John Hamilton said in a City of Bloomington press release. “They and their employees need our immediate help.”

Hamilton created the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Group in March to support local businesses, organizations and nonprofits that support or relate to tourism or culture, Ksander said. It diverted $2 million collected from the Food and Beverage Tax Fund to be used for the Rapid Response Fund. The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association also provided $500,000 to the response fund.

The city will distribute these funds in two waves of $1 million each, according to Indiana Public Media. The first wave will be released to businesses this week and the second to follow when needed.

The other $500,000 will be available to businesses that apply for funding but are ineligible for money diverted from the Food and Beverage Tax Fund because the business isn't related to tourism, according to documents from Bloomington City Council's April 7 meeting. The funds are limited to people living within Bloomington's Enterprise Zone or programming that benefits the enterprise zone.

The fund aims to support local businesses and organizations until Small Business Administration loans can be made available by the federal government, according to the city press release. Because federal funds from the Small Business Administration can take up to three months to be distributed, the city intends to provide immediate loans of up to $50,000 to each business.

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